Navigation Links
Evaluating evolutionary rates could shed light into functions of uncharacterized genes
Date:2/8/2013

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 8, 2013 Genes that have roles in the same biological pathways change their rate of evolution in parallel, a finding that could be used to discover their functions, said a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the February issue of GENETICS.

Humans have nearly 21,000 genes that make as many proteins, but the functions of most of those genes have not been fully determined, said lead investigator Nathan Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor of computational and systems biology at the Pitt School of Medicine. Knowing what a particular gene does could help unravel the workings of the body, foster understanding of disease processes and identify targets for new drugs.

"For our study, we took a close look at the way genes evolved between species and we found an interesting signature," he said. "Genes that perform biological functions together have similar evolutionary histories in that the rates at which they change parallel each other. This could allow us to identify partner genes that we might never have suspected to work together in biochemical pathways."

The researchers studied the evolving genomes of 18 yeast species and 22 mammalian species, looking particularly at genes that are involved in meiosis, a cell division process, and in DNA repair. They found parallel changes, such as acceleration or deceleration, in evolutionary rates among not only genes encoding proteins that physically interact with each other, but also among those that had no direct contact but still participated in meiosis or DNA repair pathways.

All genes mutate over time, which can be beneficial, harmful or meaningless. Some yeast species evolved a different method of reproduction and meiosis stopped as it was no longer essential for survival, Dr. Clark said. Through subsequent generations, the rate of change in the genes involved in making meiosis proteins accelerated, leading to deterioration of the unnecessary DNA sequences.

"A key question is: How important is that gene at that time?" he said. "If a species encounters a new challenge in its environment, the genes associated with it might have to evolve through subsequent generations in order to adapt that important pathway and ensure species survival."

By tracking those complementary rate changes, it could be possible to identify which genes participate in the same important pathways, providing clues to their function.

"In the future, a researcher studying a particular disease process might be able to plug in a couple of known genes in a database of evolutionary rate changes to find others that have a parallel history," Dr. Clark said. "That could provide new insight into the workings of the biological pathway of interest."


'/>"/>

Contact: Anita Srikameswaran
SrikamAV@upmc.edu
412-578-9193
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New tools for evaluating quality of life for cats, dogs with heart disease
2. Leading evolutionary scientist to discuss how genome of bacteria has evolved
3. An evolutionary surprise
4. A University of Tennessee professors hypothesis may be game changer for evolutionary theory
5. Scientists trace evolutionary history of what mammals eat
6. Battle of the sexes offers evolutionary insights
7. Revolutionary project will obtain entire genome sequences in fight against Alzheimers
8. Sandia seeks commercial partners for revolutionary SpinDx medical diagnostic tool
9. Tamarisk biocontrol efforts get evolutionary boost
10. Researchers dig through the gene bank to uncover the roots of the evolutionary tree
11. WHOI scientists/engineers partner with companies to market revolutionary new instruments
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/1/2016)... , Feb. 1, 2016  Today, the first day ... announced plans to develop a first of its kind ... of IBM Watson. In the first application of ... (NYSE: IBM ), and Welltok will create a ... assessments with cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization ...
(Date:1/27/2016)... Ohio , Jan. 27, 2016  Rite Track, ... based in West Chester, Ohio ... award winning service staff, based in Austin, ... capacity and ability to provide modifications, installations and technical ... Dovalina , CEO of PLUS, commented, "PLUS has provided ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... , January 22, 2016 ... the addition of the  "Global Behavioral ... offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) ... "Global Behavioral Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report ... Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... Many of the engineers at FireflySci, Inc. ... What sets them apart from other cuvette manufacturers is their supercharged customer service and ... On top of this steady flow of inside information, they have recently revamped their ...
(Date:2/3/2016)...  Discovery Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: DSCO ), ... surfactant therapies for respiratory diseases, today announced that ... award as a component of employment compensation for ... and Chief Executive Officer.  The award was approved ... 2016 and granted as an inducement material to ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... Ascendis Pharma A/S (Nasdaq: ASND ), ... TransCon technology to address significant unmet medical needs, today ... Leerink Partners Global Healthcare Conference Location: , Waldorf ... 2016 Time:  , 11:55am EST www.ascendispharma.com ... An audio webcast of this event will be posted ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... 3, 2016 New Jersey Health Foundation (NJHF) ... million for researchers in New Jersey ... that demonstrates exciting potential.   James ... the New Jersey Health Foundation Research Grant Program ... educational institutions— Princeton University, Rutgers University, Rowan University ...
Breaking Biology Technology: